Owner discusses loss of dog to Canine Dysautonomia

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PARKVILLE, Mo. --  Tuesday night on FOX 4 News at 10, we told you about a disease that's killed at least two dogs in the metro called Canine Dysautonomia.

There were rumblings of the disease coming from Platte Landing Park's dog park in Parkville, but Parkville officials said there's no correlation, and there's no way to know where the disease actually comes from. Wednesday, FOX 4 spoke to the owner of a puppy who died from this disease just a couple of weeks ago and the vet who treated him to find out more about this mysterious illness.

He was the light of Tiffany Franklin's household, Tank, the Bernese Mountain Dog puppy.

"He was like a little teddy bear, I mean everybody just wanted to hold him and squeeze him and he was awesome," said Franklin.

Tank only lived with Franklin's family for five weeks. He died on August 13th.

Just two days before he died, Tank started acting differently, compared to his usual puppy playfulness.

"He would eat and he would regurgitate, he would drink water, and he would throw it up," Franklin explained.

The next day, Tank was still sick, and he was later diagnosed with Canine Dysautonomia.

"It comes on very sudden, and unfortunately, there's no cure," said Veterinarian, Dr. Matthew Silvius. "Dogs will start to have problems swallowing, potentially going to the bathroom, straining to go to the bathroom."

Dr. Silvius was Tank's doctor when he first got sick he says each year he sees one or two cases. This year, he's only seen Tank, but he knows through the Franklin family that another local dog has also died from the same condition this summer.

Franklin says both dogs had been at the Platte Landing Dog Park at some point recently, but there's no way to tell where the dogs picked up the disease.

"I think it does raise some questions you know. Is it somewhere in the environment that dogs have gotten into together, I think that's interesting," said Silvius.

While the disease can lurk anywhere researchers at the University of Wyoming say it's believed it's often found in recently-excavated soil, and it's most prevalent in Kansas and Missouri.

Franklin just wants dog owners to know the disease is out there and it's deadly.

"I don't want anyone to have to go through that and see that and experience that it's terrible," said Franklin.

Researchers say Dysautonomia affects mainly puppies, but it can also affect older dogs. Again-it's not known what causes the illness, where it is, or if there's any cure.

Researchers say there are about one hundred cases in Kansas and Missouri combined each year, but it's less common in other states.

Researchers took soil samples from the Franklin's yard and the dog park. They will be saved along with hundreds of other samples to hopefully someday find a common link.

For more information, click on these links:

Research Survey Information:
www.tinyURL.com/caninedysautonomia

Facebook page for Canine Dysautonomia:
https://www.facebook.com/cdawareness?ref=bookmarks

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